THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Monday, October 3, 1994 TAG: 9410030042 SECTION: LOCAL PAGE: B2 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS DATELINE: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. LENGTH: Medium: 69 lines
British scientists will release this week the results of genetic tests to determine whether Anna Manahan was who she claimed to be - the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia.
Scientists at the British government's Forensic Science Service have tested tissue taken from Manahan during a 1979 intestinal operation at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville.
In the tests, Manahan's DNA was compared with samples taken from members of the Russian imperial family. The results are to be announced Wednesday in London.
Czar Nicholas II abdicated in 1917, and he and his family were held as prisoners at a royal compound outside St. Petersburg, Russia. Later, they were moved to Yekaterinburg, where they were herded into a basement and killed on the night of July 16-17, 1918.
The royal couple had four daughters and a son, Alexis. There have been persistent reports through the decades that some members of the royal family escaped the execution, with most claims centering on the youngest daughter, Anastasia.
When she surfaced in Berlin in 1920, Manahan initially made no claims to be Anastasia, apparently afraid that she would meet the same fate as the rest of her family, biographer Peter Kurth said. She later attempted unsuccessfully to prove her identity through two trials in Germany.
She moved to Charlottesville in 1968 and married University of Virginia professor John E. Manahan. She died in 1984 and was cremated.
The Forensic Science Service identified the imperial family's remains last year, saying they were the czar, his wife and three daughters. The scientists said it was not possible to determine which three daughters.
The issue of genetic tests to prove Manahan's identity was raised last year when Marina Botkin Schweitzer of Great Falls filed a lawsuit seeking a portion of the tissue.
Mrs. Schweitzer's grandfather, Dr. Eugene S. Botkin, was the personal physician to Czar Nicholas II. His remains also were identified as among those unearthed in 1991 in Yekaterinburg, but with less scientific certainty.
Manahan had insisted that Botkin was with the imperial family the night of the massacre. Proving that Manahan was Anastasia would further establish that the remains were Botkin's, Mrs. Schweitzer said.
Mrs. Schweitzer, who is financing the testing, fought off a legal bid by the Russian Nobility Association of New York City to have the tissue tested at a Berkeley, Calif., laboratory.
Prince Alexis Scherbatow, president of the Russian Nobility Association and a distant Romanov relation, said he expects the tests will confirm what he has suspected all along - Manahan was an impostor.
``I will be very surprised if the DNA says she was Anastasia,'' said Scherbatow, who taught Russian history at Fairleigh Dickenson University in Rutherford, N.J. ``The truth will be the truth.''
Wednesday's announcement will be made just weeks after a Russian government panel announced that its scientists had determined that Anastasia's remains were among her family's.
Russian geneticist Dr. Pavel Ivanov said that the remains of Anastasia's sister, Maria, were missing, along with those of Alexis. ILLUSTRATION: FILE PHOTOS
Anna Manahan, right, who died in 1984, claimed to be Grand Duchess
Anastasia of Russia, left.